Roy Stannard’s Top 150 Albums of all time

Grace  by Jeff Buckley - Arguably, the best album of all time.
Grace by Jeff Buckley – Arguably, the best album of all time.

OK you asked for it.

I don’t expect you to agree with me, but here they are – some of the best music ever produced on the windblown terraces of God’s own earth – Roy Stannard’s Top 150 Albums of all time.

1.          Jeff Buckley: Grace

2.          Van Morrison: Astral Weeks

3.          Carole King: Tapestry

4.          Led Zeppelin: II

5.          The Beatles: Revolver

6.          Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland

7.          The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses

8.          Radiohead: OK Computer

9.          Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers

10.        The Doors: The Doors

11.        Radiohead: The Bends

12.        Massive Attack: Blue Lines

13.        Patti Smith: Horses

14.        U2: The Joshua Tree

15.        The Beatles: The White Album

16.        The Smiths: The Smiths

17.        The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground & Nico

18.        John Lennon: Imagine

19.        Bob Marley: Exodus

20.        The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

21.        The Clash: London Calling

22.        Steve Wonder: Songs in the key of life

23.        Simon & Garfunkel: Bridge over troubled waters

24.        Led Zeppelin: IV

25.        The Beatles: Abbey Road

26.        Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde

27.        Beach Boys: Pet Sounds

28.        Neil Young: After the Gold Rush

29.        Nirvana: Nevermind

30.        Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run

31.        Pink Floyd: Dark side of the moon

32.        Joni Mitchell: Blue

33.        Frank Sinatra: Songs for swingin’ lovers

34.        Love: Forever Changes

35.        Television: Marquee Moon

36.        John Coltrane: A love supreme

37.        Marvin Gaye: What’s going on

38.        Lou Reed: Transformer

39.        Bob Dylan: Highway 51 revisited

40.        The Who: Who’s Next

41.        Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures

42.        The Band: Music from Big Pink

43.        The Veils: The Runaway Found

44.        Nitin Sawney: Human

45.        Rod Stewart: Every picture tells a story

46.        The Aloof: Sinking

47.        Roy Buchanan: Roy Buchanan

48.        My Bloody Valentine: Loveless

49.        Oasis: Definitely Maybe

50.        Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes

51.        Sex Pistols: Never mind the bollocks

52.        The Rolling Stones: Let it bleed

53.        Muse: Origins of Symmetry

54.        The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street

55.        David Bowie: Hunky Dory

56.        Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden

57.        Jimi Hendrix: Are you experienced?

58.        REM: Automatic for the people

59.        John Martyn: Solid Air

60.        The Jam: Sound Effects

61.        Manic Street Preachers: Everything must go

62.        Mercury Rev: Deserters Songs

63.        Amy Winehouse: Back to Black

64.        Otis Redding: Otis Blue

65.        New Order: Power, Corruption & Lies

66.        Bjork: Debut

67.        The Killers: Hot Fuss

68.        Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet

69.        Elvis Costello: My aim is true

70.        The Arcade Fire: Funeral

71.        The Verve: Urban Hymns

72.        Elbow: The seldom seen kid

73.        The Sound: From the lions mouth

74.        Crosby Stills & Nash: Crosby Stills & Nash

75.        British Sea Power: Do you like rock music?

76.        Echo & the Bunnymen: Ocean Rain

77.        Tim Hardin: Hang onto a dream

78.        Mew: Frenger

79.        Muse: Black Holes and Revelations

80.        Bob Dylan: Blood on the tracks

81.        Sigur Rós – Ágætis byrjun

82.        Teenage Fan Club: Grand Prix

83.        David Sylvian: Secrets of the Beehive

84.        The Dears: No Cities Left

85.        Doves: Lost Souls

86.        Young Disciples: Road to Freedom

87.        Adorable: Against Perfection

88.        A Tribe Called Quest: The low end theory

89.        Chicago: Chicago I

90.        Shack: HMS Fable

91.        Bloc Party: Silent Alarm

92.        Burning Spear: Marcus Garvey

93.        Specials: Specials

94.        James Taylor: Sweet Baby James

95.        Youssou N’dour: The Lion

96.        Elvis Costello: This years model

97.        The Ramones: Ramones

98.        Santana: Santana

99.        The Blue Nile: A walk across the rooftops

100.      PJ Harvey: Stories from the City, Stories for the sea 

101.      Sonic Youth Daydream Nation

102.      Neil Young: American stars ‘n bars

103.      Wilco: Being there

104.      The Bible: Graceland

105.      Glasvegas: Glasvegas

106.      America: America

107.      Cream: Fresh Cream

108.      The The: Soul  Mining

109.      Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis

110.      Beverley Knight: Who I am

111.      Nick Drake: Five Leaves Left

112.      Lamb: Lamb

113.      Ash: 1977

114.      Coldplay: A rush of blood to the head

115.      Suicide: Suicide

116.      Underworld: Dubnobasswithmyheadman

117.      Lindisfarne: Fog on the Tyne

118.      Jellyfish: Bellybutton

119.      Easyworld: Kill the last romantic

120.      Leftfield: Leftism

121.      Deacon Blue: Raintown

122.      Pulp: Different Class

123.      Tracey Thorn: A distant shore

124.      Stereolab: Emperor Tomato Ketchup

125.      The Lemon Trees: Open Book

126.      I am Kloot: Play Moulah Rouge

127.      Wire Train: Ten women

128.      The Silencers: Letter from St Paul

129.      Fleetwood Mac: Rumours

130.      David Bowie: The rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

131.      The Band: The Band

132.      Aretha Franklin: Lady Soul

133.      Stevie Wonder: Talking Book

134.      Sly & the Family Stone: There’s a riot goin’ on

135.      Cream: Disraeli Gears

136.      Janis Joplin: Pearl

137.      The Stooges: Raw Power

138.      Joy Division: Closer

139.      Elton John: Yellow Brick Road

140.      Cat Stevens: Tea for the Tillerman

141.      The Smiths: The Queen is Dead

142.      Blood, Sweat & Tears: Child is father to the man

143.      Al Green: I’m still in love with you

144.      The Smiths: Meat is murder

145.      The Police: Ghost in the machine

146.      Dire Straits: Brothers in arms

147.      Mott the Hoople: Mott

148.      Miles Davis: Bitches Brew

149.      The Cure: Boys don’t cry

150.      ABC: The Lexicon of Love

Excavating the Eighties Pt 2 – more rare 12″ vinyl

The fragrant Bea Van Der Maat - singer with Won Ton Ton

The fragrant Bea Van Der Maat – singer with Won Ton Ton

Won Ton Ton’s singer Bea Van Der Maat  is probably the reason to explore this Belgian Eighties outfit.

After Chow-Chow, the forerunner to Won Ton Ton split,  Bea started a career on television and sang in the LSP Band. Her popularity got the group a record contract. In 1987 the group reformed – under the name Won Ton Ton – and released the single included here – “I lie and I cheat”.

Interesting for its self-destructive lyrical theme, this song became a big hit, both in Belgium (n° 10) and in Holland (n° 13). The successors, “Hey Marlene” and the rather prurient “Can I come near you” were less successful.

Bea Van Der Maat ‘s commitment to the band was spasmodic – pursuing a parallel television career (making the move to VTM and presenting “Tien om te zien” – a program carrying the more commercially oriented Flemish music)  and she also brought up two children.

In 1996 she released a comeback album of Triphop music “Thin skinned” that got good reviews but sold poorly.

The Won Ton Ton lineup:

– Bea Van Der Maat – vocals
– Ronny Timmermans – guitar
– Fons Noeyens – guitar
– Els Ravijts / Jos Borremans – keyboards
– Jan Biesemans – bass
– Raf Ravijts – drums

Breathe was a London-based musical group formed in the early 1980s. Originally a larger, six-person band called “Catch 22”, they trimmed down to a quartet to record the album All That Jazz in 1987. This contained their two best-known hits, “How Can I Fall?” and “Hands to Heaven”. The latter charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at #2 in 1988, and at #4 in the UK. Bassist Micheal Delahunty left the group in 1989 and the remaining three followed “All that Jazz” with the lesser known “Peace of Mind” in early 1990.

Despite having all the pop potential of an Air Supply, they were destined to remain a cult band – which is why they are here.

Big Sound Authority were an English pop band. The group was formed in 1983 by Tony Burke and Julie Hadwin who both took turns as lead singers. They signed to Source Records and released one album ‘An Inward Revolution’ before splitting up in 1986.

Box of Toys were born from the ashes of A Select Committee (1981-83), a powerpop band formed by Brian Jones, Tim Lees (both later of Something French), Steve Downey (later of Come in Tokyo) and Andy Redhead (on drums, percussion and synth). Even before the band broke up in 1983,in 1982 Redhead teamed up with Phil Martin (on sax, keys and vocals, formerly of 3D), Roy Campbell (on bass and vocals) and Brian Atherton (on vocals and synth, later of ‘The Light’). Even before their first single the quartet recorded a session with the ever prescient John Peel in April 1983.

Peel Session (April 1983)

– When Daylight Is Over (Sunset)
– Time Takes Me Back
– Precious Is The Pearl
– I’m Thinking Of You Now

In 1983 ‘Precious Is the Pearl’ (included here) and When Daylight Is Over (Sunset) appeared on their second single (12” version, together with a second b-side, It Goes Without Saying). The band split in late 1984, and Andy Redhead joined a later version of  3D.

Cactus World News was an Irish rock band formed in Dublin in 1984. The original members included: Frank Kearns, Eoin McEvoy, Wayne Sheehy, and Fergal MacAindris. Their early influences were The Clash, The Ramones, Talking Heads, U2, The Waterboys, and R.E.M.

Their first recording, and best known song, was The Bridge. They performed at the Self Aid concert in Dublin on May 17, 1986. The two 12″ tracks here fought hard to avoid the charts and were destined for obscurity – but not in these parts.

One of my favourite guitar tracks from the Eighties comes from another widescreen Irish band, ‘Blue in Heaven’  who assumed legend-like shape in 1985-6 although unfairly lumped in with the ‘Big Beat’ movement and so suffered by comparison to stadium-fillers like Simple Minds, U2 and even the Waterboys.

They released 2 full length albums on Island Records: All the Gods Men (1985) and Explicit Material (1986). They also released several singles and EPs. ‘Across my Heart’ is their masterpiece. Judge for yourself – it still sounds wonderful.

Vincent Montana Jnr is part of the wider Philly soul-disco scene working as a composer, arranger, bandleader, percussionist and producer. His credits include MFSB, Salsoul Orchestra, Goody Goody and many others but ‘Heavy Vibes’ is a particular favourite with its jazz vibes and light touch – particularly enjoyable on the extended Paul Simpson’s club mix here.

Real Life was a Melbourne-based Australian New Wave band that made waves with both their debut single, ‘Send Me an Angel’ (1983) and with ‘Catch Me, I’m Falling’ (1984), both of which were featured on the band’s debut album Heartland (1983).

The band originally consisted of David Sterry (lead vocals/guitar), Richard Zatorski (violin/keyboard), Alan Johnson (bass) and Danny Simcic (drums). Steve Williams (keyboard) replaced Zatorski in 1986, who was then replaced by George Pappas in 1996 after a long hiatus of band activity.

This 12″ version of ‘Send me an Angel’ is just one of seventeen versions of the song – and probably the best.

The Prime Movers were a three piece band from the greater Los Angeles area. During the mid 80s The Prime Movers made the big(gish) time after releasing the critically acclaimed LP “Museum” on their own Birdcage Records.

They signed to Island Records and  two singles, ‘On the Trail’ and ‘Dark Western Night’ entered the UK charts.

Nothing can be found about ‘Whirl’ whose sole 12″ release ‘Clear’ is included – suffice to say that it represents a great piece of Eighties Indie rock – with just enough melody to make it worthy of reprising here.

Fifteen rare tracks – including the hard to find Icelandic version of The Sugarcubes’ (featuring Bjork) breakthrough ‘Birthday’ are waiting for your listening pleasure below:

1.  Big Sound Authority – Don’t let our love start a war (12″)

2.  Blue in Heaven – Across my Heart (12″)

3. Box of Toys – Precious is the Pearl (12″)

4. Cactus World News – Worlds Apart (12″)

5. Cactus World News – Years Later (12″)

6.  H20 – I dream to Sleep (7″)

7.  H20 – I dream to Sleep (12″)

8.  Here’s Johnny – I fall apart (12″)

9.  Montana Sextet – Heavy, heavy Vibes (12″)

10. Real Life – Catch me I’m Falling (12″)

11. The Prime Movers – On the Trail (12″)

12. The Sugarcubes – Birthday (Icelandic version – 12″)

13. Turquoise Blue – We are Lost (12″)

14. Whirl – Clear (12″)

15.  Won Ton Ton – I lie and I Cheat (12″)

Apologies – link has been removed because of an objection from one of the copyright holders above.